My husband regarded religion the same way one regards a grizzly bear: with respect, but with no desire for engagement.
Almost three years ago I “crossed the line of faith” as they say at my church. Since then I’ve been baptized, attend church regularly, and go to almost every class and seminar they offer.
In the meantime, I’ve said little to my husband about what Christianity has done to and for me. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and drive him away from the very thing that drove a wedge between him and his brother.
My husband has a vivid childhood memory of church. He was so unsettled, he puked at Sunday school. Maybe it was breakfast fighting back, or maybe a kreepy kristian teacher sickened the young, impressionable boy. Later when they were teenagers, my husband and his brother were best buds. They did everything together . . . until his bro got religion and, frankly, turned weird with his praising the Lord all over the place, and talking about Moabites and Hittites, swamping us in a muck of verses that made no sense. No more glasses of wine at our big Thanksgiving dinner. And no more devil’s food cake!
One Sunday about a year ago my husband and I had our first conversation about my conversion.
He said, “I’m afraid of the consequences.” Meaning, he feared I’d become like his brother, become not me.
I said, “The reason I started going to church is I wanted to be a better wife.”
“I thought you were a good wife.”
“I had evil thoughts.”
“I don’t want to know about those.”
A month later I said, “I’m going to sit in the lobby and watch the sermon on TV this Sunday.” And all casual like I added, “Wanna go?”
It was his first time to attend church as an adult. We realized it was kind of dumb sitting in the lobby when the action was on the other side of the doors in the auditorium. We went inside.
And we’ve been going to church Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.
One day after he returned from a business trip he mentioned he’d listened to a Christian radio pastor talking about current events. “It was so refreshing,” he said, “to hear someone who had firm answers about what is right and what is wrong instead of wishy-washy excuses.”
Recently I asked if he wanted to go to a Bible study class. “It’s only for four Mondays. They’re stand-alone sessions, so if you miss one, it doesn’t matter.”
We went. The leader challenged us to read The Sermon on The Mount.
That night my husband asked me a question that was more exciting to me than just about anything else he’s asked. (FYI: I’m the one who popped the marriage question back when.)
He asked me, “Do you want to read The Sermon on the Mount together?”
We discussed Jesus’ sermon as it pertains to our culture and our personal lives.
I like having my spouse take a role in our spiritual growth. Although we do stuff together – watch TV, go on little trips, etc., reading scripture together is more intimate than those other activities. Not sexy intimate, but genuine. I feel closer to my spouse now.
God was and is working through me to reach my husband. My job isn’t to coerce or cajole him into accepting Jesus as his savior, but let him see and experience my new heart through my day-to-day behaviors, speech and attitudes.
I don’t think he fears the consequences of my conversion any more.